The Benefits of
Building Commissioning Software Beyond Commissioning
December 23, 2021
Today’s capital projects are expected to meet certain standards for sustainability and energy efficiency, and not just from a regulatory standpoint. Owners, too, have more exacting standards to meet to ensure they’re getting an optimally functioning capital project upon handover. Building commissioning has been one of the key processes to ensure that happens, and it’s improved over the years, migrating from manual to legacy systems to cloud-based software.
With the construction industry continuing its adoption of advanced technologies, the benefits of building commissioning software outside of these regulatory requirements are becoming better known — fewer systems installation mistakes, more efficient commissioning processes, streamlined workflows, and smarter decisions.
What may not be as well-known, however, are the benefits of this software in areas that aren’t directly tied to commissioning:
Reinforce safety compliance efforts
As projects become larger, more complicated and more regulated, there’s a corresponding increased focus on safety. Promoting safety is a 24/7 effort, whether it’s curbing environmental damage at the job site, preventing personal injury of site crews and anyone in the construction zone, or protecting the health of future occupants and users. And it’s not solely relegated to the domain of the project safety manager.
How does building commissioning software play a role? Well, while verifying the integrity, compliance and optimal functioning of structural systems may be the primary purpose of commissioning, the software is also uniquely suited to help capture and monitor the safety integrity of a capital project. How?
- Take the humble checklist, for example. As each digital checkbox is tapped during a commissioning or equipment safety inspection, this seemingly minor form is actually playing a major role in making sure everything is verified as operating within safety standards. Online forms built into the software are equally as simple yet comprehensive, acting as a failsafe method to invite input of only allowable data values into their form fields. Each of these two documentation tools introduces consistency in evaluating system functionality and safety compliance so no critical detail is overlooked — from an error in installation, to a system that went untested, to defects in installed equipment.
- While there can be dozens of standardized checklists and forms to choose from for the various electrical, plumbing, HVAC, structural and other systems, there will no doubt be instances when a project calls for something more or different. Most commissioning software answers this need with customization capabilities so these forms and checklists can align with highly specific owner requirements or unique combinations of equipment and systems.
- Everything is going mobile these days and building commissioning software is no exception. It makes sense that its full value is realized when it’s accessed on the jobsite where the safety issues are going to be found. They can be logged into the software’s integrated app as they’re discovered — with smartphone-captured photos uploaded to add visual context and clarity to system safety issues — so they can be evaluated and remedied as soon as possible.
- Even years after handover, the software can be used by the facilities management team to not only proactively and remotely monitor building health, but to uncover any malfunctions that can potentially result in tenant injury or liability claims over system damage or failure.
Because the ideal time to begin the building commissioning process is at the start of a project, that translates into more opportunities for systems safety issues to be surfaced and addressed promptly before they have a chance to worsen — or go undiscovered and unaddressed altogether.
Shorten the punch list for less rework with building commissioning software
A “zero punch list” may be the dream of all contractors, but in reality, items will inevitably wind up on this infamous list as they’re bound to do on substantial capital projects.
Building commissioning software can actually help keep that list as short as possible. That might sound a bit off, as both have historically begun as the completion date approaches, with the punch list being generated in part based on what is discovered during late-stage commissioning.
But let’s go back to when commissioning should start to be most effective: the beginning of the project. How does this timing impact the punch list? During commissioning inspections throughout the build, any issues that are noted within the facility itself, its systems or building equipment will be resolved much earlier, ultimately keeping them off the list. And the domino effect continues: The more that commissioning software is able to keep that punch list from growing, the less substantial rework there will be. That means less opportunity for site crews who, in their haste to finish the commissioning-related rework by the deadline, may be more careless with safety and risk personal injury in the process. And in the end, this can help reduce the likelihood for delays in project completion, and even in the potential for callbacks down the road.
Reduce risk to retention payments or liquidated damages claims
Any number of things can push a project’s completion date back besides late-stage rework. But regardless of the causes, there are repercussions: retention payments for contractors and craftspeople can be withheld, and owners may file claims for liquidated damages when the project isn’t substantially complete by the project’s scheduled end.
With building commissioning software implemented at the project’s outset, the process of evaluating building performance is more efficient and accurate. Proactively tracking the building’s health enables contractors to keep a pulse on the health of all the systems. So, when handover is imminent, there’s confidence — and evidence — that the structure and all its systems are functioning as planned.
But the software does more than that. Let’s say something does occur, such as an unexpected major system malfunction that threatens to delay the project’s contractual deadline. Being transparent with the owner and discussing how to keep the project moving forward — backed up by contingency planning based on forecasting technology — can be a critical step in mitigating the chance for liquidated damages claims.
Get more from your building commissioning software
While some construction companies may still use traditional legacy systems, it’s the building commissioning software based on cloud technology that will deliver the benefits of better outcomes. Looking to get the most for your investment? Consider InEight Completions, a solution you can start using at the beginning of each capital project to help you maximize commissioning process efficiency and deliver optimally functioning projects for your clients. Get a demo on your calendar if you’d like to see it in action.